PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – If you own a short-term rental in Bay County, there are some new rules you should know about.
Bay County Commission passed a registration, reporting, and inspection ordinance for vacation rentals, operating in unincorporated areas.
“We are trying to establish means of having someone responsible for the property for all vacation rentals,” said Corey Welch, Bay County fire inspector.
The county passed an ordinance to help those vacationing here. Owners must provide an emergency phone number and have it on display.
“Keep in mind that emergency number is for two reasons, one for complaints if people are overstaying, loud noises, trash, too many cars parked,” said Welch.
The number is for guests staying in the unit.
“If people are there have an emergency in the unit if the water breaks, power, anything they need someone to contact,” said Welch.
Someone has to be responsible for the property.
“Either a property manager or neighbor whoever you want to have a key to go in and figure out what is going on,” said Welch.
We’re told the number is also needed for emergencies. Some challenges could come for owners who aren’t local.
“Start looking for the person unless you’re paying for an agency or whoever property management or if you don’t hopefully you have a friend or neighbor who are close by, we can call,” said Welch.
This is part of fire and life safety inspections, where certain criteria is needed to pass.
“We will be looking for signs it has to be displayed it has to be on the front of the building,” said Welch. “Also, on the inside on the pamphlet, it’s going to list the flag system on the beach, as far as noise ordinances and turtle issues all that kind of thing will be displayed inside.”
If owners do not comply, there can be consequences.
“Could possibly take away certification number so part of being compliant so you would fail inspection,” said Welch.
Inspections are set to begin this month. Bay County will reach out to rental owners to schedule inspections.
The rules will be enforced as inspections are completed.
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